How to earn and spend frequent flyer points with Jetstar

Jetstar’s ‘low-fares’ approach to flying means you probably won’t be showered with free snacks on your next flight with the airline. But does that no-frills philosophy mean frequent flyer points are out of the question too?

You may not know it, but Jetstar Airways is actually owned by another big Aussie airline, Qantas. Thanks to this tie up, and some other partnerships the airline has in place, you may well be able to pick up points when you next book a Jetstar flight. They just won’t be Jetstar points as such, as the airline doesn’t have a frequent flyer program of its own.

Jetstar does, however, have a Club Jetstar membership program. A $55 annual membership fee will give you access to perks such as member-only fares, discounts on bags and seat selection, and early access to sales on Jetstar flights. You’ll also become a Qantas Frequent Flyer member for free – this is usually a hefty $99.50 fee if you go through Qantas.

Despite their popularity, loyalty programs, such as those offered by Jetstar and other airlines, are not without their critics. For example, they recently came under fire from the ACCC who warned that consumers have little control over how their personal information and data can be used. It called for a raft of changes to how these programs work and are regulated, such as improving consumer communication and tightening privacy laws. That said, if you are careful about how you use it, a point-earning program may offer benefits you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

How to earn points with Jetstar

Jetstar has partnerships in place with Qantas Frequent Flyer, Emirates Skywards, Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank and Vietnam Airlines’ Lotusmiles. Jetstar allows you to earn these types of points/miles on eligible Jetstar flights and fares. Here’s a bit more detail on how this works with each of the main partner programs.

Jetstar frequent flyer
Source: Jetstar

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn both Qantas Points and Status Credits on Jetstar’s Starter Plus, Starter Max or Business Max fares. Members can also earn points on Jetstar New Zealand domestic flights on Starter fares.

Under Qantas’ Minimum Points Guarantee scheme, at the time of writing you are guaranteed to earn the following points as a minimum on eligible Jetstar fares (regardless of how much you pay for your fare):

Qantas Frequent Flyer Category Minimum Points Guarantee
Jetstar Starter Plus or Starter Max 800 points
Jetstar Business Max 1,200 points
Jetstar New Zealand domestic Starter and Starter FlexBiz 400 points
Jetstar New Zealand domestic Starter Plus and Starter Max 800 points

Source: Qantas

Status Credits are different to Qantas Points. They are used to determine your Qantas Frequent Flyer tier (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum or Platinum One). This is then used to decide what benefits you can receive, such as priority check-in, lounge access and extra baggage allowance, as well as how many additional points you can earn on eligible flights. For example, Platinum and Platinum One members receive 100% more Qantas Points.

Emirates Skywards

If you’re a member of Emirates Skywards, you can earn Skywards Miles if you fly on international routes with Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Asia. Members can also earn miles if they fly domestically within Australia and New Zealand and then connect to an international flight. You can only earn Skywards Miles on Economy Starter Plus, Economy Starter Max and Business Max fares.

According to Jetstar, members can earn Skywards Miles at the following earning rates:

Jetstar Fare Skywards Miles
Economy Starter Plus 50%
Economy Starter Max 100%
Business Max 125%

Source: Jetstar 

JAL Mileage Bank

JAL Mileage Bank members can earn JAL Mileage on Jetstar Japan Starter Plus and Starter Max bundle fares. According to Jetstar, miles can be earned at the following rate:

Jetstar Fare Accumulation Rate
Starter Plus bundle 25%
Starter Max bundle 25%

Source: Jetstar

Lotusmiles

Lastly, if you’re a Lotusmiles member you can earn Lotusmiles miles on Jetstar Pacific Economy Starter Plus and Economy Starter Max fares. These can be earned at the following rate:

Jetstar Fare Accumulation Rate
Starter Plus 75%
Starter Max 110%

Source: Jetstar

How to earn points with Jetstar credit cards

You can also earn Qantas Points or Jetstar Dollars with a Jetstar credit card. Jetstar has two credit cards: Jetstar Mastercard and Jetstar Platinum Mastercard.

Currently, you can earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases on both credit cards. Alternatively, you can earn 1 Jetstar Dollar for every $100 spent on eligible purchases on the Jetstar Mastercard or 1 Jetstar Dollar for every $50 spent on eligible purchases (for the first $2,500 spent per statement period) on the Jetstar Platinum Mastercard.

The Jetstar Dollars can be redeemed for Jetstar Travel Vouchers which can be used to purchase Jetstar flights and holiday products such as accommodation and insurance. For example, at the time of writing, if you hold a Jetstar Mastercard you automatically earn a $100 Jetstar Travel Voucher when you have 100 Jetstar Dollars.

Jetstar frequent flyer points
Source: Jetstar

Other features of the credit cards include no interest for six months on Jetstar flight and hotel bookings over $300 and no payment fee on Jetstar flights booked with your card.

Bear in mind that annual rewards caps do apply to these credit cards. Additionally, both cards charge an annual fee and you’ll have to pay more if you opt for the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

If you’re considering applying for a frequent flyer credit card, make sure it is suited to your needs and weigh up whether the potential benefits are worth the costs involved. You may also want to compare your options with Canstar. We’ve also written about the top credit cards in our database for earning Qantas Points and Velocity Points.

How to use points with Jetstar

You can also use your Qantas Points, Emirates Skywards Miles, JAL Mileage Bank Miles or Lotusmiles to book eligible Jetstar flights. For example, Qantas Points can be used to book flights and add-ons via Jetstar or Qantas using ‘Points Plus Pay – Flights’. This allows you to choose the number of Qantas Points you want to redeem and then pay for the remainder of the fare. You’ll need at least 3,500 Qantas Points for Jetstar flights, Jetstar says.

According to point hacking site Point Hacks, you’ll pay 20% less Qantas Points for a Jetstar flight compared to a Qantas flight on the same route for both Business and Economy Class fares. However, to get the best value from your Qantas Points on a Jetstar flight, Point Hacks recommends redeeming them for Business Class Jetstar tickets. You can use Qantas’ Using Points Calculator to check how many points you’ll need.

What to look out for in a frequent flyer program

There are a few factors worth considering when picking out a frequent flyer program including:

  • Membership fee – membership of some frequent flyer programs is free of charge (such as Emirates Skywards) whereas others will charge a fee for joining. Qantas charges a $99.50 fee for joining the program at the time of writing. However, there are sometimes promo codes available that will allow you to join frequent flyer programs for free.
  • Partner airlines – most programs will allow you to earn points when you fly with a variety of partner airlines. For example, Qantas allows you to earn and redeem points with oneworld alliance airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.
  • Other program partners – programs also typically partner with hotel companies, car rentals, retail companies and more. For example, you can currently earn Qantas Points via the Woolworths Rewards program and Velocity Points through the Coles flybuys program. When choosing a program, consider where you usually shop and whether you could use this to your advantage.
  • Points expiry – don’t forget that points may have an expiry date. For example, Qantas Points currently expire if you don’t earn or spend any points for 18 months, while Velocity Points expire after 24 months of inactivity.

Additionally, if you’re considering taking out a frequent flyer credit card to help boost your points, consider comparing your options with Canstar. Canstar rates and reviews frequent flyer credit cards on a variety of factors including annual fees, reward returns, and the taxes, fees and airline charges when you redeem your rewards.

Main image source: TommyTeo

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